What do you sound like?

My poor neglected blog! Not only have I not been updating as regularly, I’ve also not been responding to comments or keeping up with all blogs I read. I have two scapegoats: the upcoming Keresimesi (Christmas) season and the snow! We had a huge snowstorm last night…and the snow continues to fall nearly 24 hours later. At least 15cm of snow has fallen so far, and more is on the way. I guess my days of being thankful for no snowfall are at an end.

I went on a bit of a road trip with my friends almost two weekends ago and during the trip one friend asked me if I could imitate a Yoruba accent (or sound Nigerian generally). I thought I could speak a complete sentence and sound like my mom (I normally sound like this, from this entry) but instead I sounded like Jimmy Jean-Louis in that movie, Phat Girlz (anyone else brave enough to admit they saw it?).

So although I wouldn’t pass as a Nigerian by sound alone, my understanding of Yoruba and my vocabulary continue to improve, thanks to online resources such as the Learn Yoruba site and friends that let me type to them in Yoruba. I’m shy to speak Yoruba because I know there are some words that have several meanings and while mispronouncing eyin (a word that can mean back, teeth, or egg and “you people” (or is that e yin two words?) will just make people laugh (if I happen to say that my eggs hurt instead of my teeth), but using the incorrect pronunciation of the word for farm (oko) could have me referring to a man’s private part if I put the emphasis on the wrong part of the word, hehe. And also, some people don’t hesitate to laugh at my attempts to sound like a proper Yoruba girl….hmmph!

My pidgin is also improving, thanks to blogville in particular, both through those crazy people who sometimes blog entirely in pidgin (hi sting!) and those other crazy people on twitter. I don’t feel brave enough to hold a conversation in pidgin because I’d sound like such a fraud, but I like whipping out a line or two when chatting online every now and then.

Anyway, back to how people sound: I personally love the Nigerian accent, and maybe when I say “Nigerian accent” I really mean Yoruba accent, because that is the one I’m most familiar with. And when a Yoruba man with a deep and velvety voice is crooning to me on the phone in my dreams…mmm mmm mm! I’m also partial to the Naija/British mix, but really it’s a guy who can speak Yoruba in ways my lips and tongue only dream of mastering that turn my crank. Phew! But enough about me and what I like: what do you sound like? Naija for life regardless of where you live? A mix of Nigerian and North American? Or Nigerian and British? Or Scottish? Maybe Australian and Nigerian (I want to hear this one o!)? Auditory evidence is welcome. And on the other side, what sort of accent turns your crank?

(And yes I know there are many ranges and variations of intonations within Nigerian, British, American, Canadian, Scottish, Australian, etc. accents but don’t deny that if you hear someone speaking before you see them, you can guess with almost 100% accuracy that they are from somewhere in Nigeria, even if you don’t know exactly where!)

23 thoughts on “What do you sound like?

  1. 1. I saw PHAT GIRLZ on HBO Jan.1 of this year. I could not forget because the day before that, i had a long chat conversation with a Naija guy online. Coincidence?

    2. I like listening to Nigerian accent. i tried mimicking.. to no avail. hahaha!!!

    3. I studied pidgin, ha!!! sounded fake.. even if i was just writing it!!!

    Sent you FB mail. hehehe :)

  2. lol…. i didn't know u took time to read my pidgin. I'll blog more in pidgin just cos of u :D

    I think i sound mostly Nigerian.

  3. Just listening (I downloaded it) to the Verastic radion show you co-hosted and true you do not sound Nigerian at all. Nice to know you are learning to speak the language (Yoruba!) and dont worry about being made fun of…if the goal is to speak one day the 'husband(Oko) will become a farm (Oko)! lol!

    I'm speaking from experience. Every now and then, my Yoruba radio sometimes hits another frequency (resulting in a funny sounding word)but I smile away as I turn the dial for another try…

  4. I sound all Nigerian!

    I do not have any particular tribal accent. Even though I'm Igbo, I definitely do not sound Igbo. I think this comes from living in Lagos all my life and mixing with other tribes and also from the fact that we hardly spoke Igbo at home when I was younger. I only just learned to speak in my adult years. Can you imagine?!

    I can also speak Yoruba and some Hausa, I guess you could call me a 'True' Nigerian huh?

    I absolutely love to listen to a British accent with a tinge of American in it. That definitely turns my crank!

  5. Glad to have you back, missed reading your blog. I can't even speak my language "Igbo" not to talk of sounding strange.lol

    You stay blessed.

  6. I sound more naija and maybe small britico or americo when I dey this side. Back in naija na naija get me fully, OK unless I wan form, LOL. Shey you dey get me ba?

    What turns my crank, a guy who's consistent in his speech. No confused accents for me. Sometimes my SO fakes a thick Yoruba accent and that is so funny.

  7. I sound like an unadulterated nigerian…just that which part of Nigeria…I cannot trace…

    My email oh…:-) lol. How are you doing?

  8. I sound quite Nigerian, erm but sha I speak 'Island English' (them them VI and Ikoyi ) according to my friend. I can also sound like a proper razzoid when I am talking to people I am very very comfortable with.

    Yoruba can be sexy when the guy is blowing it with just the right amount of phonetics, ya know. Igbo and Hausa just sound wrong for sexy talk and my language sounds extra extra extra wrong for sexy talk.

  9. my poor neglected blog, my poor neglected. oh, i so feel like echoing those words. congrats on your pidgin, that' s cool, i have been in naija 4 years now and still havent managed to learn it, though i would love to. oh how i hate the yoruba accent. hope you've been good. take care

  10. Lovely post! Methinks I sound all Nigerian hopefully so, I get irritated when I see my fellow Naija folks trying to form an accent it really sounds phony!

    Unlike you a strong yoruba accent is not on my list of top ten accents, especially if the person speaking has the 'h' and the 's' factor too:)) Hope you understand what that is!

    I like the hausa accents without the 'p' and the 'f' factors, my igbo brothers can do without sounding like they are fighting with the words coming from their throats:))

    Anyway all in all, My yoruba is picking up I guess you are not the only one who comes out with the wrong words, practice and public speaking are a must if you want to get it right, I dont know about writing o! As my written yoruba is much better than my spoken and is actually deceptive.

    Phew I have written a long post, let me comot sharply before I put you all to sleep, Odabo o!

  11. Right now I'm still struggling with my Nigerian accent and Canadian one….it's annoying cuz I sound diff lyk everytime.

    I think a guy that speaks my language(really light yoruba accent) and possibly another sexy language like french or spanish

  12. nice post!

    ok i sound very nigerian but with no particular accent..i can do a good yoruba accent as yoruba girl concern and can be razz when i want to.

    i love hearing people e.g my mum or grandma pray in yoruba..there are some words they use they rhymes..dunno ow to explain ti jare.

    with pidgin i write it better than i speak it…i sound strange speaking pidgin.

    i love a proper britico accent…not the black man's own o..white britico accent…and i so so love the american accent..not the texan one o..or the one that draws like soup…lol..u sabi the one i dey talk about?

    ok am goign to sleep now…

  13. LOL @ Aloted's comment ^^^

    Congrats on improving your Yoruba vocabulary, I'm sure it will pay off! I too wish I could speak pidgin but I can't. I can't even fake it.

    I think I sound Nigerian, I only bother to switch to a British accent when I'm speaking to a British person. I looove the Italian accent, but maybe that's just because I sometimes wish I was Italian, lol.

  14. Nigerians say I don't sound Naija (and I grew up there o) but I like to think I do. Americans say they can't pinpoint my accent but they always guess Trinidadian (I've gotten Jamaica once). Anyway I grew up in the North (KD!!!) and I lurvvvv lurvv lurvvv a smooth talking Hausa man, Chineke!!! When they have a tinge of hausa accent mixed with proper English, it will bring you to your knees Lord have mercy. I might be a weird one but I also love a slight hint of an igbo accent, just a slight hint…tis sezzy sometimes.

    As for my pidgin, I can type it like no man's business but it comes out weird :(

  15. LOL@ Omosi T .’Island accent’, its true o, there is the V/I and Ikoyi accent

    Me, I definitely sound Nigerian,….I was born, buttered, bread and jammed all in Naija o! Just that I am not sure I sound Yoruba, though I am full blooded Yoruba

    I kinda like the French accent trying to sound English; I really would like to see a combo of Scottish-Real Nigerian accent…..

    GNG, don’t stop trying to learn to speak Yoruba and the pidgin, let people laugh at you, (although I must confess I would also get a kick out of laughing at you too)

    I think I agree with high five, there is somethign about the Hausa accent, especially mixed with an English one.

    And I loved Phat girls……some mistakes/errors, but generally very nice movie with a very strong and inspiring story line.

  16. omo naija ni mi..

    you guys are makin it sound as if it's criminal

    say u no sabi speak yoruba no mean say or igbo or just sound nigerian no be crime although it's a crime in the real sense of it, but the thing be say no be una fault…

    but classes are up for real…

    i am online most times and

    we could skype to make it easier to learn

    the time difference no matter, i be night crawler…

    hit me up on eniola_onebox@yahoo.com

    or maybe i wil start bloging the Naija way once in a week on my blog http://www.babaolowo.blogspot.com
    lets work it out together… :)

  17. lol…funny post…I believe I sound very Nigerian…very good spoken English, no accent (I'm Yoruba)…I speak Yoruba well thanks to my Paternal grandma but my parents and a few others dont think it's good enof…humph! human beings, there's no satisfying them…lol.

  18. havent finished the article or read a single comment yet. such an interesting post. but i want to post a grrrreat resource for learning ede Yoruba (im pretty bad) with videos and tutorials so you can have a sort of courseload. also there are a mass amount of yoruba movies on youtube which are good to mix in with any studies you are doing. forgive me if this was all already mentioned, im sort of tight on time. Cheers and happy holidays and merry Christmas :D


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